The Current State of Recruiting for DI Women’s College Hockey Defense

This is the Third and Final Post detailing the current opportunities for potential female Hockey recruits at DI Schools

In our previous posts we reviewed the status of goaltender recruits at all the DI women’s hockey programs and a similar post for the forward position.

As a reminder, the research compiled all the roster information for players from current DI women’s hockey team websites and combined them with the latest public women’s college hockey commitment data to help determine where spots have been filled and which schools may still be looking for players to start in the 2023 and 2024 school years.

Keep in mind, due to Covid, players who started playing in 2018 or 2019 were given an extra year of eligibility. In addition, 12 schools (all the Ivys, most of NEWHA plus Union and RPI) did not play in 2020-21 – so their 2018 or 2019 players can still be on their rosters for another season or two.

Finally, many of these extra-year players have the option to either stop playing after their 4th year of playing, transfer & play one more year elsewhere or stay-and-play for a 5th year at their current school. This makes predicting which teams would be looking for freshmen goalies in 2023 and 2024 tough, since many schools might prefer an experienced transfer student. It is very possible that even the coaching staffs for these schools may not know for sure what their student-athletes will do.

Here is the analysis which tries to shed light on where defenders are committed and current players are getting to the end of their college careers (by year).

DI Womens Hockey DEfense By Grad Year & Class

The following (ugly looking) table shows the number of D by class year on their current roster and their anticipated graduation year. Then the currently publicly known number of D commits by start year is also provided.

Note: Gray teams did not play in 2020-21 and thus have players with an extra year of eligibility even though they are currently listed as a Jr or Sr.

Players that are designated as 0.5 F and 0.5D if they are listed as both positions on their team’s website.

If you are a 2023 or 2024 D, the above table may help guide you to certain teams that may still be looking for defenders.

A few observations and notes:

  • If there are ~340 D positions, then usually ~85 D should be recruited every year.
  • It looks like ~15 D spots have shifted from 2023/24 to 2025. So ~15 less spots will be available for 2023/24 grads combined (~155 spots)
  • Average D players on a team is ~8, but there are 4 teams with 10 or more D that will likely not replace 1 or 2 of those slots
  • It appears as though many of the 2023 Defense spots are already taken but there is likely still another ~15 spots available across a handful of schools.
  • If you are a 2024 grad, many spots still appear to be open. However, 2025 looks like it will have more openings than usual, so you could also consider taking a Post Grad year (~100 for 2025 vs ~70 for 2024).

If you had a different experience or have additional thoughts or questions, feel free to reach out on social media or here to share your thoughts or experience.

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